How to Enrich Your Marriage Even When You're Busy
To the busy wife,
Stay tuned for the freebie at the end :)
Looking at my new Erin Condren Life Planner, I see that for the next week my husband and I will be on very limited time together. This dilemma has been the story of our short almost two years of marriage. Between working full-time, school full-time, internships, and a new baby, we have had to figure out how to enrich our marriage even when we are busy and time isn't on our side. We all live busy lives, and I think many marriages, and relationships, can benefit from the strategies my husband and I discovered. So, without further ado here are the tips, curated by my husband and me.
Go to Church Together
When I asked my husband to collaborate with me on this post, the first tip we both thought of was faithfully going to church together. If we are together on the weekends, even if we have errands or are tired, we make it a priority to go to church. If we miss church on the weekends because my husband is working or interning, we watch Church.Online. Whatever we do, we make sure we are spiritually fed and engaging in spiritual community.
When we make God a priority in our lives and marriage, we are far better equipt at loving one another the way God wants us to love one another. We remember that God fulfills all our needs, not each other and therefore we do not put, at least as many, expectations on one another, which by the way, are hard to fill when your time together is limited.
Pray Together and for Each Other
'If two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven' ~ Matt. 18:19, Jesus wants us to pray, and pray together because there is power in prayer.
Pray with your significant other and pray for them.
I am not going to lie; I know both my husband and I wish that we made it a point to pray with one another every day, either in person or on the phone. We don't do it each day, we should, but we do it often. Each day, however, we do pray for one another. Prayer is powerful; the Apostle Paul calls us to pray for one another. Praying for one another and our marriage is a mighty way to love each other and to feel more at ease when we do not see each other every day.
Know One Another's Love Languages and Speak Them
In our premarital counseling, we were advised to take the love languages quiz. You probably have heard of the Five Love Languages, Dr. Gary Chapman’s book The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts is a National Bestseller.
Anyway, the five love languages include Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch. I highly encourage you and your significant other to take this quiz and buy the book if you haven't. Since my husband and I know each other's love language, we can better show each other affection that resonates deeply. When we haven't seen one another for awhile, he wants to talk, and for me to shower him with affirmations, I want a long hug. When you know each other's love language, you are better able to show love in a way that speaks to and fulfills each other.
I also recommend signing up for the Five Love Languages Newsletter as it includes different ideas of ways to express and show love for each love language. The website has many free resources, including devotionals on the YouVersion Bible App (Thank you Life.Church!).
Call When You Can Instead of Text
When you two are apart, don't just text, call! This tip is all my husband, but I am happy he insists on this. I would be okay just texting, but I know so much is left unsaid or misunderstood in a text message, inflection, emotion, timing, meaning, nonverbal cues, and vulnerability. My husband always makes sure we talk on the phone when we are apart. Yes, we text for most of the day, but we do not leave it at that, we have a conversation at a scheduled time. Many issues cannot be adequately discussed, and shouldn't be discussed, in a text. It is so much more personal and effective to talk, voice to voice.
Encourage One Another
1 Thessalonians 5:11 states "Therefore encourage and build one another up, just as you are already doing." This is so true in marriage! Whether or not you or your significant other has the love language of Words of Affirmation, everyone needs encouragement so encourage one another often. My husband and I tend to leave one another notes of encouragement. These little surprises are so special and uplifting. Both you and your significant other have a unique role to play in your life together, and at times those positions will undoubtedly be hard, encouragement does wonders. In all my endeavors, I can always count on my husband to encourage me whether for my blog or my library lesson plans, and I try and do the same for him.
Look at One Another's Schedule
If you find that you and your significant other are not getting enough quality time together, or find that your plans bypass one another, look at each other's daily, weekly, and/or monthly schedule and plan quality time together. Just like when you go grocery shopping, if you do not plan on what you need to get, you likely end up forgetting something.
If you want to spend more quality time together, you have to plan it.
Before I got my Erin Condren Life Planner, it was difficult knowing when my husband had this or that for work and school, it made it hard for us to plan time together, and caused friction because, well no one knew what was going on! My husband doesn't write his schedule down (I'm lucky if he remembers to take a lunch!) so I keep track of both of ours. Now that we can both see a full month calendar, we can better plan for quality time together and plan for if and when we need a babysitter.
Spend Your Together Time Wisely
You looked at one another's schedules and planned time together, but is that time together quality time, just time running errands, or passively watching Netflix? To be honest, my husband and I need to work on this tip. We spend a lot of time together running errands.
Just like with money, you should spend your time together with your special someone wisely.
What does quality time look like then? I recommend setting aside that planned time with your special someone free of the TV, smart-phone, or other distracting technology. Making the most of your time together could mean going for a walk (this is one of my favorites), having a meal together, cooking a meal together, or eye-to-eye conversation. It could mean anything in which your primary attention and focus are on one another.
Any Chance You Can Spend Time with One Another, Do It
If you and your special someone are on limited time together, any chance you can spend time with one another, do it,
spontaneous time together is fun.
For example, if one of you has to go out of town and the other person's schedule is free, go together, the drive there and back could be an excellent time for conversation. My husband and I do this all the time, whether I have to go out of town for a friend's bachelorette party or he has to do something for work, we go together if and when we can.
Make Time for Discussion about What Is Important to Each of You
Just like planning time for quality time together, you and your significant other should plan for time to discuss pressing or important issues. If you don't make a plan to discuss issues, those issues become a simmering pot that will eventually boil over. Especially if you are on limited time together, you need to talk about what is important to each of you. The lack of communication coupled with limited time together could create distance between you and your special someone.
Help One Another
Again, we all have busy lives. Whether you work full-time or part-time, go to school full-time or part-time, volunteer, are a homemaker, etc. the chances are you are busy. Even if someone doesn't ask for help, it doesn't mean that they do not need or wish for help. Ask one another if you require or would like help, and if so, what can you do to help? Maybe you can better fit in that quality time together if you both help each other get lunches ready, do laundry, or go grocery shopping for example. Galatians 5:13 says to
"serve one another in love."
I hope these tips were helpful. I want to thank my husband Alex for helping me with this post, and I want to thank you the reader for reading it! Share these tips with your special someone. As a bonus, there is a freebie for this post; a Time is Precious Planner, fill it out with your significant other and start enriching your marriage or relationship today!
Yours Truly, LeNae
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Check local library listing through WorldCat for The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts
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